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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Free Technology for Teachers

by Richard Byrne
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 06, 2011 by Teacher Education
Overview: The purpose of this website is to share information about free technology resources that teachers can use in their instruction. As the title states, the materials are free of charge.
Learning Goals: Learning goals are determined by the reader. Blog posts on this site may reference different technologies that can be used by teachers as part of their classroom instruction. The goals of the site are to: 1. acquaint teachers with free technologies available for their use 2. share how technology can be used for learning in the classroom 3. provide a learning community for educators who wish to integrate technology into their teaching.
Target Student Population: There are resources on this website for K-12 students, as well as resources for preservice and inservice teachers. The site would also be useful for technology support staff in an educational institution.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The website has resources for beginners as well as advanced technology users.
Type of Material: The website is a blog with multiple new posts shared on a daily basis.
Recommended Uses: This website can be used as a resource for professional development. The author includes free eBooks that he has written on topics such as free web images, how to make videos and how to use Google Apps. As well, the website would be effective in teacher education classes, technology in education classes and for in-service and pre-service teachers.
Technical Requirements: Access to the Internet.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The content on this website is timely and well organized. The author creates ebooks for topics that require more than a single blog post. The author actively engages with users who comment and have questions about the various topics shared. The site is updated regularly. The technology discussed is varied and applicable to many levels of education.
Concerns: None.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The author provides concise blog posts on free educational technology tools. He uses the tools he shares with his own students, providing insights on the challenges and benefits. He creates free ebooks on topics such as "Making Videos on the Web" and explains each step of the process with screenshots. He encourages teachers to practice good digital citizenship by using Creative Commons images and citing their sources. The usefulness of the site is multiplied by the number of followers the author has on Twitter and Facebook.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to use with links to commonly accessed topics provided at the top of the page. A search box is prominently placed on the home page. The free ebooks are loaded with step-by-step tutorials that can be shared with others.
Concerns: None.